Welcome back! Thanks for joining me for another weekly interview. First, I would like to apologize to my guest this week and everyone who has been checking my blog looking for this post. Due to circumstances far beyond my control, I am about 7 hours late with this publication. Moving on…
… this week I welcome Kenyan Smith, author of the ‘Growing Pains’ series and owner of ‘Doin It Publishing’.
IDI – Kenyan, I’ve heard argument for each side, but when writing, do you outline or sketch the entire book before you feel comfortable enough to begin your draft or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants?
KS – I construct my books scene by scene. I try to have each scene tie into the next. I outline my scenes. For example in ‘A New Beginning’, which I am currently working on, I have 10 scenes in my head that I have to sit down and write. There is no rhyme or reason as to how many scenes I outline in my head at a time. I just write them down as they come to me.
I handwrite the scene(s) on paper first. Then I type them on the computer (so that is really two re-writes in the beginning). Most times there are a couple of days or so in between me going from the paper and to computer. When I get to the computer it is a feeling that I cannot explain; something/someone takes over and more times than not, what I have on paper takes on a new life when I go to type the scene. When I am done with several scenes, I go back and decide where a chapter should begin and end.
I repeat the process until the story is complete. But, of course it is not really complete. I do this over and over and over again until the story is completely edited and ready to publish.
IDI – Did you have a Eureka moment or did you always know you were born to be a writer?
KS – I didn’t have one Eureka moment. I have always loved to write. In school, I always did well on my English papers and essay tests. I have always had ‘a way with words’.
The moment my dream of being published began was in 2007. After a lot of personal problems, I had the Eureka moment that life was too short and it was time to just Do It. So, I did.
IDI – Are your stories plot or character driven?
KS – Plot, plot, plot with strong characters. I have always been and still am a fan of the soap operas. I know the dawn of reality TV is changing the face of TV (nothing wrong with that – as long as the earth exists there will be change). But, I love the soaps because of the great ‘stories’, the turns, the twists and the plots.
When I write, I want to tell a great story with a great message.
IDI – What are you working on now? Can we get a peek?
KS – I am working on the sequel to ‘Growing Pains: Kendra’s Diaries. The second book in the series is tentatively titled ‘A New Beginning’.
I have my own publishing company, Doin It Publishing. I will be assisting new authors with their consulting and self-publishing needs. I want to help first time and seasoned authors realize their dream of being published. I am laying the foundation of the company and planning to take on clients by the beginning of 2012.
IDI – I enjoy hearing about some of the eccentricities often associated with writers. Do you have any (you’d like to share)?
KS – I have to be in the ‘mood’ to write. I often hear ‘write whether you feel like it or not’. For me, that is counter-productive because when the mood hits me, I can make up lost time. When I am in the mood, the words, thoughts, situations and scenes flow out of me like a stream of rushing water.
IDI – Everyone writer has their own dream. What’s yours?
KS – I would love to be rich, who wouldn’t, right? But I have no interest in being famous. I would want my life to stay the same just with a lot more money. I want to write at least one New York Times Best Seller. If I could help others do the same that would be the icing on the cake.
My dream board would also have Tyler Perry making a series out of the journey of Kendra Foster and her growing up adapted from the ‘Growing Pains’ series.
IDI – What was the best advice ever given to you, and by whom?
KS – The best advice came from one of my closest friends, Charisse Sanders. I was going back and forth with a major decision I had to make. I was telling her I was scared of making a mistake. She asked me a question that has totally changed the way I make decisions. She asked me, ” Kenyan, do you think you will live the rest of your life and never make another mistake? Of course not, make the best decision you have with the information you have. If it is the wrong decision, then correct if if you can when you can.”
Wow!! We all make mistakes, the wrong decisions but all we can do is what we think is best at the time. If we do that, then we have done all we can. Sometimes we become so immobilized with fear of making the wrong decision we never get around to DOING anything and that is the worst mistake of all.
IDI – In your opinion, what are the biggest misconceptions new authors have about the publishing industry?
KS – That writing the book is the most important part of the journey. I made this critical mistake myself. That is only the beginning. The marketing, the promotion, the follow-up and the branding, those are key. And as writers, that is sometimes not our strongest suit.
So, while we are typing the next bestseller, we have to keep in mind it only becomes one if people actually buy it!!
IDI – What do you do when you’re not writing?
KS – I have two sons which keep me busy with all of their extra curricular activities. So my weekends depend on what they have going on. I love sports. Football is my favorite so that will take up a lot of time between now and the Super Bowl. I also love to read, watch a good movie, dance and listen to music.
IDI – You have a 9 to 5 job. How do you manage work, family, social obligations and extra curricular activities and still find time to write?
KS – I work during the day. My evenings consist of making sure my sons are doing what they need to do in relation to homework and studying, making sure they aren’t surviving off of fast food (even though it can be tempting to save some time), working on my new book, promoting the one that is out now, watching some TV (I do have a few shows that I have to watch) and breathe. I am always waiting and praying for the time when I can work from home. So when I read this question, I am thinking oh no!!
I guess no matter what your situation, it comes down to determination, dedication and commitment to writing, or anything else for that matter. Since I have to be in the ‘mood’ to write I am known for using big purses because I carry around my pad all of the time. So, when it hits no matter what else I am doing, I just have to multi task. I have to strike when the iron is hot.
IDI – I would like to thank Kenyan for joining me today, and once again apologize for getting behind the 8-ball with the interview.
Join me next week for L. David Hesler!!
Ink Drop Interviews are conducted weekly by Kathy Reinhart, author of ‘Missouri in a Suitcase’ and ‘Lily White Lies’ – both available in digital and paperback from your favorite online retailers.
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‘A friend worth knowing tolerates your flaws while a friend worth keep writes about them’ ~kathy reinhart
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